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Frederick Whirlpool VC (Hardback)

The Hidden Victoria Cross

Biographies Victoria Crosses Military

By Alan Leek
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526759108
Published: 9th April 2019


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Frederick Whirlpool’s Victoria Cross is displayed near the entrance to the Hall of Valour at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. It was the first VC pinned to an Australian uniform, yet almost nothing was known about its enigmatic recipient. Two acts of valour during the Indian Mutiny won him the Victoria Cross, but 17 severe sword wounds ended his career.

After migrating to Australia in 1859, he became a volunteer rifleman and school teacher. His VC was presented in Melbourne in 1861. He applied to join the Victorian Police, but corruption and unsolicited political interference prevented it. Repulsed by fame, he fled and hid his cross from the world. Fragments of his story were known, but since 1895, they have been tainted by error and guesswork. This new book reveals his true identity and early life in Ireland, before he joined the East India Company Army and sailed to India.

Frederick Whirlpool VC is the fascinating history of an ordinary man, whose life is deserving of factual interpretation. It is a story of heroism, suffering and failure, but this forgotten man will triumph in its telling: the true story of this sad and purposefully enigmatic hero.

As featured by

Medal News, November 2019

I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the Indian mutiny and the Victoria cross, but also to those interesting in the life of a man whose life was altered by his military experience.

Sergio Zampatti, RUSI NSW, 2019

About Alan Leek

Alan Leek joined the NSW Police Cadet Corps aged 17 and is a 34 year veteran of the police. He served as a detective, before taking up command positions and finally retiring with the rank of superintendent. He holds an Associate Diploma in Justice Administration (Distinction); Post Graduate Diploma in Police Management and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, USA. He also holds the prestigious Peter Mitchell Award for outstanding performance of police duty, after leading a murder investigation.

In 1983 he co-founded a fine art gallery and acted as its director until 2012.

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